Have Golite effectively pulled out of the UK market?

Golite have of late concentrated on the domestic market (USA) and now seem to be putting their emphasis on direct sales in the USA  and less so on distributors as far as I can see. Golite produce some good quality products including their backpacks (Pinnacle and Jam) and the tents/shelters (Shangri-La).  I received the December newsletter from Ultralight Outdoor Gear, which for those who don’t subscribe to it I have reproduced below about the problems that this has caused them in getting further suppliers from Golite.  They have been able to source on the face of it a really good subsitute for the Shangri-La coming out soon from Eureka, the Wiki-Up SUL3 and Wiki-Up SUL4.  These according to UOG are  virtually identical to the GoLite Shangri-La 3 and 5 but with some added benefits.

My other favourite online  retailer is Bob and Rose’s backpackinglight.co.uk  and they also stock a Shangri-La alternative – the Luxe Outdoor Mini Peak II.

So UK buyers will have the opportunity to find alternatives to the excellent Shangri-La shelters.

Extract from UOG’s December’s newsletter

1. GoLite.
If you’ve read our Newletters at all recently you’ll know that we’ve been out of stock of the key GoLite shelters (Shangri-La range) and been out of many of the most popular sizes of the genre-defining Jam rucksacks. In fact we’re now almost out of stock of the Jams as well. This is due to GoLite’s pre-occupation with their home market and selling direct to the general public in the States, and we have been unable to secure further stocks of these items.
Two weeks ago we were told we could have some Jam rucksacks, which got us very excited, we put our order in immediately – this week we’re told we can’t have them afterall – they’re needed for the home market. Personally I think its a dead duck.
In respect of the Shangri-La shelters GoLite are saying the earliest they will have any available for their international business is March, but when March arrives, will they actually be available – we suspect not.
HOWEVER, WE NOW HAVE SOME ALTERNATIVES…
2. Introducing Eureka and the Wiki-ups!
Eureka are a big brand in Europe that have turned their attention to high quality ‘light’ and ‘ultra-light’ weight tent construction and we’re impressed by the quality, so much so we’ve decided to carry their range next year.
In a few short weeks we’ll have stock of the Wiki-Up SUL3 and Wiki-Up SUL4 – these are (frankly) virtually identical to the GoLite Shangri-La 3 and 5, which made us hesitate.
Its been a difficult decision to stock these tents as the design is clearly GoLite’s, however two factors tipped the balance in Eureka’s favour – firstly I don’t feel confident we’ll ever get the GoLite shelters ever again and secondly I think the Eureka products are better. Well I would say that wouldn’t I? But the facts are that the addition of solid fabric on the inners (rather than 100% mesh  of the GoLite version) is a step forward for our climate, and secondly, having used both versions of the Wiki-Up SUL3 the quality of manufacture of the Eureka version seems better.
Weights and prices are similar for both and so we hope you approve of our decision!
Here’s a first look at the Wiki-Up SUL3:
I used the Wiki-Up SUL3 and discarded the centre pole, preferring to use my trekking poles and our Gram Counter Gear ‘Stick Thingy’ as the jointing piece to make up the full length – saving ounces! You also need rubber feet for the trekking poles to avoid any damage to the tent fabric.
The tent only requires 6 pegs to pitch it but this assumes you use the same pegs for the inner and flysheet and don’t set up any of the storm guys nor peg out the mid point of the fly panels.
Here’s how it goes – in order to fully peg out the tent I took 6 micro pegs for the inner tent and 6 Titanium wire pegs for the main flysheet pegging points – these could be the same pegs but I think for the sake of 6 micro pegs I can get a better pitch by using separate.
You then require a further 5 pegs for the flysheet panel mid points and a further 6 for the Storm guys – the tent doesn’t come with guys, you have to make them up yourself.
When pitched with all these pegs in place the tent is magnificent and will throw off some pretty bad weather. Most occasions don’t require this level of pitching though.
The tent can easily accommodate 3 but I think it comes into its own with 2, sleeping either side of the centre pole there’s still lots fo room for personal gear alongside your sleeping mat. I used a large size Exped Synmat 7 UL – its a big mat but it fitted into the Wiki-Up SUL 3 comfortably.
Separation between the inner and outer is good especially when you use the storm guys to keep the tent shape.
The design doesn’t provide for a porch thats protected from the weather so if its bad you need to be quickly in and out – the upside is there’s plenty of volume inside to get yourself sorted once you’re in.
Weight-wise the Wiki-Up3 stacks up really well:
Flysheet: 796g
Inner: 940g
Pole: 318g
So the basic shelter I carried only weighed in at 1736grams. You need a lot of pegs to pitch it at its best but you can also get away with a lot less. I was using Gram-Counter Gear Micro pegs quite a lot for the non-essential pegging out points and they only weigh a few grams each.
The Gram-Counter Gear ‘Stick Thingy’ weighs just 44grams.
If you’re fancying a spacious shelter that you can stand up in and yet weighs hardly anything then this has to be an option.
AVAILABLE EARLY JANUARY 2013
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18 Responses to Have Golite effectively pulled out of the UK market?

  1. Martin Rye says:

    Golite SL3 Fly 654g. Inner better made by Oookworks. Pass on the Eureka and get a mate to send a SL3 from the USA.

    • I am OK, as I go to the States each year and you can buy Golite on line and have it shipped. However for those who don’t wish to ship from the US or have a mate over there I think they could offer an alternative to the Shangr-La

  2. As the Eureka tents seem to have an RRP of about 400 euro, I suspect that they’re a bit too pricey. I’ll be curious to see what price point UOG give them, though!

    • Hi Graham. I tried to find out what the price is going to be, but could not find any reference. The price of the Shangri-La 3 on the Golite website is $RRP 500 on sale at $249.99 no stock however.

  3. Wurz says:

    Eureka show a price of £380 rrp. If it’s not sold as a modular outer only that’d make a seriously expensive tent with a £140 to £175 replacement Ook inner. For a weight saving of around 400g? Possibly of interest as a one person shelter if you’re very flush but for 2 you may as well use the supplied inner and just pull back the floor by the door.

    It will be interesting to see the asking price, I think UOG usually sold the SL3 for £175 and with the nest for £250. There is some info about it and a comment from Bob at BPL on OM in the SL3 thread.

    • Hi Wurz,thanks for the info.I don’t subscribe to BLP. That would be expensive if not sold as a modular offering. Would you need an Ook inner (apart from weight saving)? as the inner looks fine to me.

      • Wurz says:

        Sorry I was referring to Bob from backpackinglight.co.uk the shop rather than the American thing. There is a thread on Outdoorsmagic under gear about SL3’s.

        I think this inner looks good too, better than the mesh nest. If you could just buy the outer then maybe you would buy one if you wanted a huge 1 man tent, but as said that’s a lot of money. I suspect it’s sold as seen though. So maybe a Duomid or something else would prove similar, though I think not as robust but better value for one person. I have an SL3 (with the mesh nest) and really like it, even my wife likes it! She’s come with me car camping, you can fit a double lilo in it by offsetting the pole. The inner would be better if it left a porch too. I don’t peg out the point at the bottom of the door and pull it back for boots and cooking. This way you can still fit 2 full length mats in and still have plenty of room for both of you.

        I liked your pics of Knoydart btw, brought back some memories!

      • OK I will look for that thread on Outdoorsmagic if I can find it. Currently looking for a suitable 2 man tent for when one of my sons come with me backpacking, but has space – so this design would be good. How is it in rainy & stormy weather? Thanks for your comment on Knoydart – I want to get back there and do some more stuff up there.

  4. rcbprk says:

    Personally I think its a shame that Golite have made the decision to neglect their overseas customers. Perhaps this has been born out of necessity if they needed to reduce their overheads by canning the distribution side of their operation – I don’t know. All I do know is that I started looking at their gear recently and was faced with the prospect of a $45 shipping fee on an item that weighs under a kilo… no thanks.

    • Yes I real pity, some good products they have. I hope that they do resupply their UK distributors in the spring, otherwise many people will find no easy way to purchase. Will be interesting to see how the pricing comes out on Eureka tents.

      Signed up for your posts.

  5. Wurz says:

    In rain the SL3 is really good, deals with wind pretty well too although I’ve not been in it in a gale. I have had a few windy and very wet nights and I didn’t use the guy points either, just the pegs at the bottom. I’ve used it on the last 3 OMMs (also rained at all 3) and the space for 2 is fantastic.
    An alternative you might fancy is the Tarptent Stratospire. Maybe a bit too different? That and the Scarp’s dual doors/porches are great for 2 people but then so are loads of tunnels and other designs. I keep stopping myself from buying a Notch that I really don’t need. A good blog about the SL3 is Tracksterman, he seems to pretty much live in one.

  6. AlanR says:

    Hi Mark,
    My thoughts, i think GoLite are testing the water to see if just internet plus home market is good enough. I struggle to see how outdoor gear shops are making money, against internet sales, with the over inflated prices they charge. I say good luck to GoLite but i want to see some prices fall.
    I don’t think Eureka will take off in UK. I wish UOG all the best because they are good to deal with if not the cheapest on the net.
    As for the BPL offering, i don’t understand why anyone would buy one if it’s not midge proof mesh. It just means throwing away the inner and buying one from oooKworks. Nothing here ticks my box’s i’m afraid.

    • Internet sales are gobbling up the sales of traditional outlets right across retail, so I understand that internet could be the way forward. I am not certain that you can actually order GoLite products from their website for international distribution. I think that this should be the very least they should do if they are not going to supply UK retailers. There are I am sure many loyal Golite users who will lose out. You can it seems order the Shangri -La on the UK ebay site. As regards the Luxe product, I would agree that the product needs to be midge proof. Maybe Bob can do a deal with Sean at Oooworks and provide a UK specific inner.

      • Sean says:

        hi i live in the UK and currently have a brand new SL3 including inner nest poles pegs and still with tags atached for sale, it has never been used still has tags attached its the current version in green, expanding family means im not going to get good use if it so if you want it email me im lookin for around £250.00 sean_hedley@o2.co.uk

      • Hi Sean. Not sure I can buy it at the moment,but plenty of people visit the site so hopefully some one will contact you.

      • Sean says:

        sean_hedley@o2.co.uk (under score between names) for some reason the system removed it or its on outdoor Magic in the classified sectuin under forums
        Cheers Sean

  7. Joerg Wertli says:

    Hi Mark, good news in regards to the availability of GoLite products. GoLite is coming to Europe. We’re opening a European wide web store later this month, With lots of GoLite gear, not just shelters and packs. You’ll find us under http://www.golite.ch or http://www.golite.co.uk. Let me know if you’d be interested to test and review our products again!

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